Get To Know Some Nats: Infielders

Every year, we put together player profiles for the Nationals players likely to make the 25 man roster. This way you’ll have a better idea of just who is taking the field. Except for a few notable exceptions, the Washington Nationals of 2015 will be the same team you’ve been watching for a few years. So we’re going to forego lengthy profiles of stuff you already know, and focus on capsules for a few players at a time. A quicker, more forward focused view for the savvy fan.

You can read our outfielder preview here, and our starting pitcher preview here.

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Ian Desmond, SS

Fangraphs | 2014 Preview

On a team when every infielder has a story going into 2015, Desmond’s demands the most attention. Lo beware the shortstop who can hit, for they shall be in demand and cost lots and lots of money: And Desmond can hit. The list of shortstop with three 20 HR / 20 SB seasons is very short: Alex Rodriguez, Hanley Ramierez and Ian Desmond. (Seriously, buy Baseball Prospectus).

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Nats Spring Training Question #5: Is the 25 Man Roster Already Set?

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As far as I can figure, the 2015 Nationals will head into Spring Training with at least 23 of their 25 slots filled and ready to go. A luxury to be sure, and not one that will repeat itself anytime soon. Over the next few seasons, at least a handful of free agents will be leaving each year, many from key positions. For example, the 2016 Nationals could be starting the season without Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister, Ian Desmond and Denard Span: And that’s just me thinking of starters off the top of my head. Each year after next, similar names may be on the way out the door, each requiring a spring training for new players to become acquainted with the team, young players trying to play their way on, and a parade of healthy competition for starting spots.
But the future is the future, and today is today: And today, the Nats won’t have to think too hard about a lot of the spots on the team. Each MLB club is allotted a 25 man roster to play day-to-day with, and an expanded 40 man roster where the additional 15 players are in the minor leagues, but available for call up at a moment’s notice.
Seriously, I just went through the roster and I’m not sure there is anywhere for anyone to break into the top 25. There, legitimately, may be no camp battles in 2015. So let’s count them up.

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Holding Court: 5 Extensions I’d do before Desmond and Zimmermann

The two two-year deals the Nats handed out to Ian Desmond and Jordan Zimmermann effectively ended the negotiations for a longer term deal – at least for this offseason. Neither of those deals was really an extension because both players are under team control for 2015, nor were they “backloaded”. They simply settled next year’s arbitration cases early, thus the salary escalates in the second year because that’s what was going to happen anyway. However, both deals did save the Nats $3.4M compared to MLBTR’s predictions for the 2014 season. I think both of these guys are worth extending into their free agent years but they are not without risks.

Desmond will turn 29 by the end of the season so extending him past his current contract would cover his 30’s – and the beginning of a player’s typical decline. Zimmermann turns 28 in May, so like Desi, is wrapping up his ‘prime’ years. Plus both players have checkered injury historys to boot. Extending players before they hit free agency is done to save the club some money in exchange for the player’s security with guaranteed money. Thus, if you can’t get a discount and will have to pay market value, then there’s little reason for the club to take the risk of guaranteeing year.

With that in mind, here are 5 other players that I would extend this spring while waiting another offseason to revisit Zimmermann and Desmond.

5. Wilson Ramos (age 26)

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Get To Know a Nat: Wilson Ramos

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Welcome to “Get To Know a Nat.” There are currently 39 men on the 40 man roster, and we’re going to give you the straight scoop on all of them!  Not sure where to start with player and season previews?  Not ready to jump into heavy metrics?  Just want to get to know the players, what they do, and what to expect from them in 2013?  Then you’ve come to the right place!

Name: Wilson Abraham Ramos
Nickname(s): The Buffalo, Vamos Ramos!
DOB: August 10, 1987 (Age 25)
Twitter?: @WRamosC3
From: Valencia, Venezuela
Position: Catcher  Batting Order: 8th
Hand: Righty
With the Nats Since: Acquired via Trade in 2010 from the Minnesota Twins

By all accounts, Wilson Ramos had a rough year last year.  Well okay, his rough year started in 2011-but we’ll get to that.  For the 2012 season, Wilson Ramos was poised to break out.  Everyone was excited to see one of the best young catching prospects blossom into the starter he was supposed to be.  Jesus Flores moved to the back-up role, Pudge Rodriguez moved on from baseball, and Ramos was ready to shine.

Of course, that was all before On November 9th, 2011 when Ramos was kidnapped from his home in Valencia, Venezuela.  He was there playing in one of the many Winter Leagues in South America-and as a high profile player for an MLB team, he was a target for kidnappers.  Strangely, this was the “not so bad news” as he was reported alive the next day, and rescued the day after.

The Ramos family, the Washington Nationals, Natstown and Ramos were all relieved and ready to move on.  The strange story of the kidnapping was fodder for joking around in Spring Training of 2012.  “So, how was your winter?” asked pitching coach Steve McCatty-playing dumb. “Anything goin’ on?”  Fans and teammates alike settled into what they hoped was a long great season behind the plate from Wilson Ramos.

Then the really bad news. That season ended on May 12, 2012 when Ramos tore the ACL in his right knee.  He had been trying to field a passed ball in a game against the Reds.  After twenty five games, he ended up on the 60 day disabled list and never got back.

Now, in 2013 Ramos is back in camp and almost ready to play.  Apparently he’s just got to work on his slide.  When he does take the field though, all eyes will be on just what Mr. Ramos can do.

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